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Energy consumption is becoming an increasingly important issue throughout the community. For network operators in particular it is a concern as networks expand to deliver increasing traffic levels to increasing numbers of customers. The majority of the energy used by the Internet today is consumed in the access network, and this will continue to be the case for the short-to-mid- term future. Access technologies should thus be a prime focus for energy use mitigation. In this article, we present a detailed analysis of energy consumption in current and future access networks. We present the energy consumption of DSL, HFC networks, passive optical networks, fiber to the node, point-to-point optical systems, UMTS (W-CDMA), and WiMAX. Optical access networks are the most energy efficient of the available access technologies.
Date of Publication: June 2011